This paper explores cooking practices during the second half of 4th millennium BCE in southwestern Iran (Chogha Mish) and northeastern Anatolia (Arslantepe). Like food consumption, cooking can take place in various social contexts, and how, where, when and by whom food is cooked plays an important role in commensal practices. We attempt to trace the interplay between material culture and people and the different roles of cooking practices within the two communities under study. Through the analysis of vessels according to their shape, capacity and use-wear traces, we gain insights into everyday as well as out-of-the-ordinary meal preparation. Our case studies show that cooking touched multiple spheres of life and the labour organization connected with cooking had many facets. Food cooked to be consumed on the spot and secondary products that could be stored played possibly different roles in both communities. This does not only imply a diverse spatial and temporal proximity of the two activities but it seems also related to different social contexts.